Christmas and summer holidays are always a nervous time for families and friends of people struggling with alcohol and drug issue. It is important that you are prepared to manage addictive behaviour during the Christmas season.
Holidays provide extra free time, and without structure and positive influences young people can turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. The increased amounts of substance use can lead to dependence and the effects can be harmful.
As the parent or caregiver, here are a few quick tips to support your child manage addictive behaviour over the holiday season:
- Plan for lunches and gatherings to have limited alcohol and/or non-alcoholic options. Normalise parties without drinking
- Talk to your child about their substance use plans. Listen and seek to understand. Withhold judgements. Share your expectations and listen to theirs
- Create opportunities for activities and memories to occur by doing things together. Consider a beach day, the movies, a hike etc. where positive memories can occur
- Do some jobs or tasks around the home together. Paint a room in the house, do some gardening together and get some of those chores off
your to-do list
- Set up a plan for your child to call you if they get into trouble
- Maintain the relationship at all costs. Keep your cool and reach out for help.
Also, be aware of your own self-care during this time. It’s likely you have given so much already, and summer holidays will be no different. Take time each day to value and care for yourself and do things you enjoy.
Some helpful resources during this time can include:
- Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS): ADIS is a confidential telephone counselling, information and referral service for the general public, concerned family and friends. ADIS also provides information about how to access other services including information about available prescribers and pharmacies. 1300 13 1340
- Family Drug Support (FDS) provides telephone support to families and significant others impacted by AOD. Call 1300 368 186.
Refer to FDS site: www.fds.org.au
- Mental Health triage Line provides referral information and support 24/7 for people experiencing mental health concerns. Call 13 14 65
- Lifeline is a crisis telephone support service available 24/7. Phone 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline provides free, confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for people aged 5 to 25. Phone 1800 551 800.